Journey and retreat to Haiti – Dec 15, 2020 to January 7, 2021

Tuesday, December 15, 2020
I could not sleep although, I went to bed early because I had felt a little drowsy.  Finally, past 1 am it seemed that I dozed off.  I woke up abruptly at 3:20 am. Got up right away to get a cup of coffee and prepare a small breakfast of apple, orange and half a slice of bread with cheese.  I knew that would be enough for the length of the flight until I touch grown in Haiti.  I did not want to eat or drink anything on the plane.  I was getting out of the shower when the taxi driver called at 3:55 am to say he was already outside when yesterday, Mr. Shah had told me he would not be there before 4:30 because he was coming from Suffolk.  Pierre got up and helped put the suitcases outside for me while I dressed.  I was in the cab at 4:15 am.  The driver took a different route to the airport (Jamaica, Van Wick) although there were many traffic lights.  The driver felt that at that time there would be no stores/pedestrians traffic we would make a quick travel.  We were at JFK exit 5 departing terminal at 4:45 am.  The first kiosk to check in gave me trouble.  I moved to another one and a young lady came to assist me.  I told her how I appreciated her help.  Then I went to drop the suitcase.  There was a young man ahead of me with many luggage.  I asked him: ”Sir, I have only 1 bag, would you allow me to go ahead of you.”  He smiled and said of course.  I realized he was waiting for a few more people with more suitcases. 

The bag I checked was 51 pounds and I was lucky I got no comments from the agent.  So far things were running smoothly I felt really relieved.  I proceeded to all gates security.  There was no line for the first security officer to check passport and picture.  Then I moved to the x-ray machines where I placed the computer in a container with my phone, then the carry-on and my big bag on the conveyer.  TSA had me go twice, because they considered, the projector, the thermometers, the batteries, and the marble box suspiciously.  I looked around carefully and prayed while they were opening the carry on by the X-ray machine that nothing had fallen out. I had packed it so tightly and I had to repack it. With all this back and forth, I got to gate 21 at 5:25 am.  There were about 40 people already waiting at the gate.  I made sure I sent my husband a message that I had arrived safely at the airport.  I had paid extra to seat in front as he had suggested.  However, they started boarding the plane from the back seats.  I was among the last to board the plane.  They took the carry on from me although I pleaded with them to keep it with me because of the electronic and batteries, and the warning by the airline that these items should not go inside the plane.  To no avail although I showed them the items, they refused.    I obeyed the rules and waited until my row was called.  I wanted to make sure the sensitive items were not mishandled by the bag carriers here and in Haiti.  I also think this lack of space was a management issue from the airline; people from the back should not be putting their bags in that section.  What is worst, the agent who took my bag so rudely told me: “if you do not want us to take your bag take another plane because there is no more room for bags.  You paid for more space to seat not for the bag.”  I felt like crying, these were the items I had packed personally to bring to the school in memory of my recently dead daughter.  I had to let go and hope for the best.  Lesson learned.  This experience with JetBlue really disappointed me.
I should have not listened to my husband and not pay extra.  I could have used the money for something else and get the satisfaction the bag was with me. 
We were served water, juice, or soda and cookies or popcorn.  I took them for later while on the road going to the town.  My own breakfast was satisfying.  We had a smooth flight.  When I got to the airport, we had the usual troubadours playing local music.  Then I was among the first to get to custom.  I anxiously waited for the carry on.  All of them passed by, I did not see mine.  My heart sank.  I went to security who was removing them from the carousel and asked if he had seen a black carry on tagged #700.  He said no.  I went back to the main carousel and look at the bags going by.  Ten minutes later, the security agent came and said he thought he found the bag.  I walked back with him and he was right.  I thanked and tipped him, I was so relieved.  After about half hour by the carousel I located my checked bag.  I was able to hand in my papers and get to the telephone counters to purchase Digicel and Natcom telephone and network service.  Sr. Myrlande was waiting for me, it felt so good to see her. We could not find the driver in the parking lot.  We waited about 20 minutes until sister spotted him sitting in the shade and he had not noticed us.  We had some errands to do for the house.   We had to stop at a factory to pick up T-shirts for the school, then we bought eggs on the road.  It was 2:16 pm when we headed to the open road.  At one point, there was a long line of cars as in a parking lot.  Our impatient driver followed a heavy truck that was running on the left lane to pass all these cars.  Unfortunately, after passing about 30 cars, he could not get back on his own lane.  The police got his license to write him a ticket that he would have to pay at an office and get the license back.  At 3:33 pm we were back on the open road to Miragoane, our driver, Mr. Thermino sped all the way until we arrived in Anse-a-Veau at 5:35 pm.  Sr. Charitable and Quetteline greeted us with songs and mentioned how worried they had been for us as we never communicated with them.  I thanked them for welcoming me at their house.  I mentioned some of the items I had brought for the school and Sr. Charitable was plased.  Then we had supper where I told her how grateful I was to get away from NY and to be here as in a retreat.  I felt such a failure in prayers and as a mom toward my deceased daughter and my sons.  I felt tensed and sensitive about everything. 
For the past year I had seen my daughter’s health deteriorating unable to talk with the physicians as she was an adult as well as with COVID restrictions. 

After supper, I walked with Sr. Quetteline to the Square where Fr. Louis was instructing the people on the role of mother Mary based on Scripture.  Then we walked back to the house where I started to unpack in my little room outside the main house.  At 10 pm, I had finally sorted all things and prepared by clothes for tomorrow.

I woke up suddenly at 2 am.  I knew I was in Haiti.  It is the same thing that has been happening for the past month praying for my family with so much anxiety.  When Natalie was still alive, I had prayed daily for a miracle that never happened. 

I was so angry still about the evils of lupus, inflammation of her joints, depression, pain, liver problems due to alcohol that took her life.  Why?  Where is the mercy of God?  Since the age of 13 she has been afflicted with this lupus condition, joint and wrist pain, ankle swelling, skin problems, hair loss, and lately liver problems.  Why? During the nights praying and waking with hopeful feelings that something would happen then to go to sleep at the end of the days with more deterioration–no improvement, loss of appetite, bleeding, low potassium…
With the COVID 19 situation unable to get the proper care, specialists, and doctors at the North Shore Health.  Witnessing all these sufferings: two paracentesis for the ascites, postponement of doctor’s visits, and an endoscopy two weeks before her death.  I felt so powerless.  Where did all the prayers go? 
However, now I am praying that her suffering has stopped and that she is in a better place. 

Wednesday, 16, 2020
Woke up at 3 am but stayed in bed, closing my eyes.  Tried to pray but felt really not into it.  I woke up and got out of bed.  Completed the sorting of the gift and p urchased items in the memory of Natalie for the school programs: sport, music, and nursing that we sponsor.  Got dressed after a shower using cold water from the pails.  Water was purchased by buckets as the truck did not come to deliver recently and the city’s water pipes do not reach the town.  I do not take the comfort I have in NY for granted. 

At 5 am, I crossed to the main house.  I heard the dogs moving but did not need to fear, they were already in their hut.   Thank goodness I am a morning person.  At home, I never stay in bed past 7 am.  I usually do classical stretch by eccentrics the latest at 6 am with Miranda-Esmond White on WNYEDT before having coffee, prayer, and readings of scripture before having mass.

Waited a few minutes before the sisters came for Morning Prayer.  Afterward we went over to the cathedral for mass. I looked at the benches CORA had shipped from the Diocese of Brooklyn and fitted for this space.  There were 20 on one side and 12 on the other side.  The church here is waiting for the second container with more donated benches and chairs.   

After mass, we had breakfast (sweet papaya, macaroni and vegetable, and coffee).  I placed all the gift items and displayed them on a table for Sr. Charitable. I took a picture then we placed everything in her office. 

I sat on the gallery next to the office to have access to the internet.  At around noon, I felt very dizzy.  Then I became very emotional. 

In the afternoon after lunch, (pitimi, sauce pawa nwa, pwason, bannann fri, ak legim bouyi—kawòt, bètwav, pòmdetè).  Sr. Charitable, a parent, and I went to Francoville to meet with the manager, Phaeton, to make arrangement for the 7 & 8 grade gala for about 30 students, a few teachers and myself.  

Following the arrangements, we walked through the square then by the road across the church to go down by the ocean (Bòdmè) in order to go to Mrs. Leblanc who lives at the edge of town.  We had a short visit as it was getting late about 5:30 pm.  We returned to the house passing by the cemetery.  I talked aloud to Henry, my husband’s father buried there: “for 50 years you played music for the church; where were you when Natalie was suffering and her early demise?  I feel anger that evil won over her life.  This feels like an unfair situation.  How could a God of mercy allow such overpowering suffering in her life?  When we talk about Christ’s suffering at every mass, we say He freely accepted because his purpose was to redeem us.  She did not freely accept this! Where was the gift of faith, for her to associate her plight with Jesus?  Allow me to understand.”   

At the house we had evening prayers, then I went to my room to shower then came back to the house to prepare 110 goodie bags for the 110 students in preschool. 

At 9:30 pm I went back to my room so that the grounds keeper could let the dogs loose.  I searched my bags for items for tomorrow before turning in at 10:30 pm. 
I am so glad Pierre had found the flashlights/lanterns to give as a practical gifts to the sisters.  Mine was very useful and effective.

Thursday, December 17, 2020
I woke up only twice at 11:45 pm then at 2 am.  I finally was awakened by the alarm at 4:30 am. 
Got ready to go over for prayer and mass at the chapel.  I felt very emotional.  During mass I could hardly keep from crying.  At communion, I left and went to my room.  I just wanted to scream.  I had no idea how to control it or analyze the feelings.  When I felt in control of these moods, I joined the sisters for coffee and breakfast (pineapple slices and spaghetti).  Afterwards, I continued to prepare goodie bags for the preschoolers.  I noticed the box Evelyne, my friend, had sent from Florida for the sewing and embroidery class, I looked through it.  I then went to my room to prepare the sisters Xmas gift and envelopes for the personnel.  I visited all the classrooms of the school.  Then went back to the office to prepare a draft of financial report for Sister C. 

I usually don’t eat three meals in a day, but here as soon as lunch time approached, I was hungry.  We had rice and peas and goat meat in sauce.  I went to Tilou who is a Natcom Vendor but he was not home.  I continued on to EPSSA.  From the last time I was here in 2019, a gate and fence was built around the university.  The landscape is better kept and water containers where built in the boys and girls bathrooms.  Anelio, the groundskeeper, told me that the young students had trashed everything that we had built during our 2014-2015 RENESANSAVO programming but now some improvements were being made.  I visited with Tilou again to find out if he could fix my Natcom service.  He made some suggestions for the house.  By buying a router for the house it would cost 4,000 gdes but it would have a greater range and 4 G capacity for more than one equipment. 

After supper of Labouyi, we did more goodie bags before going to my room at 9:30 pm.  Marc Henry, the house groundskeeper, was waiting to release the dogs in the yard.

Friday, December 18, 2020
During the night when I woke up, I forced myself not to look at the time and to close my eyes harder and think positive thoughts.  I finally woke up at 4:15 am and got out of bed.  Prayed, showered and tried to think of what needed to be done here.  Crossed over to the house, had prayers with the sisters, however, I could hardly concentrate.  I felt so hungry.  I ask Sr. Myrlande if I could have the coffee now before going to the Cathédrale for mass.  We were about 9 parishioners in attendance. I still wonder why they have to use this large space for so few people during the week days.  The priest read yesterday’s Gospel instead of the one for today.  Maybe because he had prepared a homely for that mass and he felt it was worth repeating.  Right after communion, Sr. Charitable and I went back to the house to have coffee before going to visit each room that were decorated by the students to see which of them would receive first to third prize.  I made pictures and made videos of the prayer service while in line-up.  One girl fell sick.  I ask the teacher to bring her to the nurse and tried to locate one of the custodians to put some dirt or saw dust on the ground so that the children would not step onto the puke.

I went to one of the first grade class while they were testing one child I sang with the rest of the class “Head and Shoulders” in Kreyòl with the gestures.  I asked if they knew what the word Incarnation meant.  After explaining, they were very quiet.  I bet with the 8th grade teacher that I would get the same vague answer as in the kindergarten.  He won the bet.  They answered immediately that God took flesh, and I asked for what purpose?  They answered with conviction, to save us.

I went to the office to use the wi-fi to call home.  I had a nice conversation with Pierre.  He had to clean the snow.  A number of inches had fallen.  I mentioned he should please call Carole who had lost her cousin, Roland, and Juliana her, nephew.   I did a Purgatory Oblation Warrior (POW) chaplet prayer for each one of them.  Death is all around us besides all those victims of COVID.

We had quite a busy day.  The pre-Ks had a party.  I helped serve the food and drinks to the little ones.  After the party, I piled the chairs on top of each other so that Jean Remy could sweep and clean the floor.  Not many people helped with the cleanup, only Marvens a little boy from the neighborhood who is always hanging around the sisters’ school.  We had lunch around 1:30 pm before going to the 7/8th grade gala at Francoville Restaurant.  The students had a good time and their 3 teachers animated the evening for them.  While they were enjoying the meal, I went to admire the immensity and grandiosity of the ocean in front of me.  I felt I was losing my breath and a strong sob shook my whole body.  A sense of deep lost overwhelmed me.  After controlling these feelings, I videoed the event and took pictures.  Entertainment, food, desert ended at 5:30 pm.  Then we went back to the house with the driver.  I went to my room at 6:30 pm.  From my bed I could hear the priest preaching and singing in the square below.  I dared to close my eyes anyway to go to sleep although so early.

Saturday, December 19, 2020
At 3 am I woke up. I wanted to turn around and I felt the room turning with me.  I could not sit and fell in a whirlwind.  I lied down again and I wanted to retch but could not walk to the bathroom.  I lied down again and prayed for my last breath asking God for forgiveness for all the wrongs I had done in my life, to purify all the good I had done and asked to complete the things I had neglected to do.  Another movement racked my body.  I definitely, had to try to get to the bathroom to grab a pail.  I did but could not get back to the bed.  I sat in the chair next to the door of the bathroom.  The dizziness lessened a little.  But the impulse to retch continued but nothing was coming out.  I thought how my daughter, Natalie, had vomited blood before dying in a pot next to her.  Was it as acute as this moment for her?  It had to be worst with the endoscopy done exactly two weeks before. 

I had no one to call as the sisters live in the main house or should I wake up the music teacher and driver next door.  I commended myself to be still.  While the flashlight was on, I felt a little better.  I heard the groundskeeper pass by with the dogs.  On his way back, I told him if he could let the cook who wakes up to prepare morning coffee for the house, if she could prepare a cup of tea for me.  I was still feeling so lousy.  When Sr. Myrlande came to call the driver, I mentioned how I was feeling.  She rushed to bring a tea that had salt in it (they don’t use sugar when someone is sick here in Haiti).  As soon as I took a sip, it came back out.  I mentioned it could be my blood pressure.  She immediately got her machine and took my pressure.  It was 175/105.  Usually when my pressure is high, I get severe headaches.  This is the first time I was experiencing these types of symptoms.  With each stomach churning, I had to sit on the toilet as well. Even if I sat quietly, I felt I was like a lamp being turned off.  Sr. Charitable brought me some tea, and Sr. Myrlande gave me some leaves (fèy zanmann) to hold in my hands to lower the pressure.  After a few minutes, I went to lie down.  I was awaken at 9:30 am by the phone.  Mr. Labissiere wanted to know how I was doing.  I got dressed and went to the house to get a cracker or two not because I was hungry but to prevent retching.  I sat on the gallery, looking at the vegetation, quietly trying to recuperate.  When I noticed the water vendor I asked him to talk to me.

At noon feeling slightly better I was able to eat some bouyon.I did everything in slow motion.  I helped Sr. Charitable prepare a report of event.   I also helped Sr. Myrlande set up the room for tomorrow’s graduation. 

Jean Vanel, Rosalie, and Rose Camille, a fisherman family, came to visit.  We tried to make plans for when the sisters would be away.  But the decisions would be the sisters’. 
I sat by the chapel to hear the sisters do evening prayers before going to my room.

Sunday, December 20, 2020
All night I was restless.  I felt an oncoming cold.  I got up took a garlic pill then I had a headache.  At 3 am some personnel started moving around in preparation for the graduation.  I felt nauseated around 4:30 AM.  I tried to get across to get some crackers, the doors were closed.  Shortly after, I found an entrance and got two crackers and ate them then got back to my room although I had showered and was ready to get dressed.  I awoke at 6:10 am, got ready to get something to eat.  I had a piece of papaya and some tea.  I did not drink the coffee.  Sr. Charitable took my blood pressure it was normal.  We prepared to go to mass in Karouk which was schedule for 7 am but Fr. Iradin Louis began at 7:20 am.  Twice members of the choir or church came to offer us to go sit in special seats. I said no.  I was perfectly fine where I was in the pews among the people.  The girls’ scouts animated the mass.  The priest’s homily was very comprehensive but too long.  Fr. Iradin knows Sr. Charitable, he asked her to say a few words about vocation.  He recognized me and thank me for attending mass for the first time although I had given him two interviews: one in NY and the other right here.  I declined to speak when he offered.  After mass he invited us to his place, where he gave us 4 pumpkins from his garden and he reminded us that he was an agronomist.  After mass in Karouk, I went to the Cathédrale to see what was going on.   The church was packed.  On that day the bishop was celebrating baptisms, first communion, confirmations, and blessing the graduates from the Centre Juvenile.  I walked back to the house and proposed to do whatever they needed done. 

At 11:30 am the Salesians began their ceremony with the graduation procession.  I could not video properly because people were getting between me and the people to take a picture for their family or relatives.  I decided to video key points than do an interview for one person from each of the field of study.  I wanted to know of their reactions to their learning and the program.  That was most successful than being frustrated with people cutting in front of me.  It will take some time to edit but the result will be more informative on the reality of the people.

Sr. Myrlande really devoted herself since yesterday to ensure that things would run smoothly from giving out the certificates, the entertainment to the food.  Mr. Morel Berard, and Marie Carme Cineas godparents for the event who provided some assistances to those who could not afford to sew their dresses.  After the interviews and washing the dishes of those who had dined in the sisters’ refectory, I ate myself.

I went to relax then I was called because Msgr. Almonacy had come to see me.  Sr. Charitable and I had a good conversation with him.  We introduced him to Sr. Myrlande.  He did not know of the work about the Centre Juvenile being done here in Anse-a-Veau.  Sr. C. after giving him something to eat, accompanied him to the rectory because he was going to preach that evening on the square.  As soon as she was back, I crossed over to my room.

Monday, December 21, 2020
All night I was tossing.  Could hardly sleep.  I was feeling terrible as if my pressure was up yet I knew otherwise.  Was it a head cold?  I felt weak when I got out of bed at 5:30 am.  I was really struggling to shower and get dressed.  I went to the chapel in the main house and sat outside on the rocking chair feeling exhausted and weak.  After prayer, I went to get tea before walking to the Cathédrale.  The priest was already doing the homely when I arrived.  I plopped myself on the bench until it was over and prayers completed.

We had to wait for breakfast, the cook was not ready.  Meanwhile, I had some zoranj si with honey for vitamin C and a cup of melis tea.  Yam and salmon sauce was served, but I ate very little.

Afterward I helped Sr. Myrlande set up the room for tomorrow’s personnel party. We wiped the chairs, swept, mopped the room and set up the chairs, Xmas tree, and table for the food. 

I also helped Sr. Charitable tie the bags with rice and beans donated to share with the needy families.  It took hours among Mark Henry, Sr. C. and I to have them completed and labelled with the names of recipient.  Sr. C. had to make calls for pick-up or delivery.
Then I sat down to read.  I spent the rest of the afternoon nodding, looking into space mostly not wanting to do much. 
Once in a while I moved to help the sisters — place the teachers’ gift under the tree, cleaning the gallery and sending items to storage. 
We had supper then prayer while I sat in the rocking chair outside the chapel.  I nodded several time while praying.  I went to my room at 9 pm and hoped to read before falling asleep.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020
Sent message of happy birthday to Carida of Renesansavo.  I had a better night.  Woke up later than usual, 6 am, and got dressed and went for tea.  We had prayers while I sat on the rocking chair outside the chapel.  We had an informal and light breakfast as they were preparing a brunch for the personnel.  Sr. Myrlande creatively fabricated a crèche in the chapel with cardboard and lights.

The teachers and personnel had mass at 10 am in the chapel then moved to the library where chairs and tables were set.  Mrs. T was the animator (mc).  They exchanged presents and recited a poem and sang a song for the person they had picked in the secret Santa.  After lunch, each teacher took their present with the card addressed to them from under the Xmas tree.  Then they proceeded to the main house where they got food provision and small donated items for their bags.  Apparently, they had a good time but one said he was hoping for a bonus paycheck.  For the year 2019-2020, they had worked until March but they were paid until June.  They started in September and were paid August.  Maybe he felt it had been a waste of time to prepare food for them (the brunch) and provisions items for them with some other articles without realizing these were gifts being shared with them.  Many students did not pay tuition and the school did not have the funds to cover the salary.  The first month of the year had to be sponsored for all the teachers to find payment.  The principal thought it was important to create comradery among them in this informal setting to build moral as it is her first year in this assignment.  

After the party, the sisters and I had the room cleared and set up for class use again.  I typed some report events before going to my room.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Had a much better night than the past few days.  However, the dogs at 3 am were rummaging around the back of my room.  Maybe people threw food items or other objects with food traces in them.  The alarm woke me up at 5:45 am.  In the main house I had prayers and breakfast before going for mass.  The priest came to announce that the mass would be delayed.  So Sr. C. and I went back to the house to get ready to travel to Paillant.  The driver thought we were going to the sisters of L’Etang Rey, he had reached the bottom of their steep hill when I told him we were going to the parish of Lady of Guadalupe.  We turned back and tried to ask Msgr. Rebecca where the person Sr. C. wanted to visit lived.  He was absent but the locals indicated the house to us.  They too were absent but sister found a resident who would call us later to put us in touch with them.  This area had a nice library and recreational room.  I talked to the young ladies there.  They each had different types or books and magazines they were reading or perusing.  They were not shy to share their dreams and goals for the future with me.  These moments give me great hope for the country.

Then we travelled to the supermarket.  I was craving ice cream.  I bought a small cup of grenadine flavor for myself and a rum raising for the driver.  As usual the supermarket did not have change. Sr. C. insisted that they found some for her.  I believe this is a ploy, if every client leaves 2 to 20 gourdes, how much are they collecting.  Maybe the thing to do is to give a token of different colors depending on the value that could be redeemed at another purchase time. 
When we got to the house we had lunch then afterward worked on some accounting and activity reports.

In the early evening, I attended the tasting and test of the cooking/baking class participants.   They were ready, proud, and engaged in this event.   Some of the participants were really nervous as they were being graded as they had to explain how they had achieved their recipe. 

As the Jericho (people going 7 times around the town praying and singing) was going to happen during the night.  I tried to go out to see them pass by our street toward the cemetery but the front gate was locked.  I ran to the back gallery of the house as the ‘’float” with floodlights, singers, and loud speakers drove by. I was glad to be here experiencing the lived faith of the sisters and the people of the community.

At 8:45 pm, I went to my room, did some light laundry and used the new wi-fi system that I had bought today.  I heard the caravan of faithful on the street by my room for the last time at 12 am.

Thursday, December 24, 2020
I don’t know if the caravan had gone by again after I last heard it. But I woke up very anxious between 3 am and stayed awake for about an hour or more.  I had dreamt about school.  “The principal told me as I was entering the facility “You are late”.  I replied: Ï am late?  I know an incident happened on the route coming but did not think it delayed me that much.” Then I proceeded to my class.  The substitute teacher asked me if she could help me. I answered: “I am the teacher; this is my class.” And I woke up.  I had not dreamed of classroom since my retirement years ago. 

At 5 am, I got out of bed feeling a little dizzy.  Prepared my clothes and decided to rearrange some items in the room.  I washed my hair with the cold water thankful that I had it for my use.  At 6:30 am I went at the house for prayers.  I stayed outside the chapel not feeling comfortable yet to control my emotional trepidations.  After breakfast, worked to complete Sr. C.’s event reports and download some pictures from the telephone to the computer.  Sr. Myrlande and I prepare the reports for her program.  I printed a hard copy of a blank form for her to fill out at her own pace. 

We left the house at 2:25 pm to go to Mrs. Leblanc’s house to deliver her gift.  Then we walked through the Saline to visit with Jean Vanel, Rosely and Rose Camille. I fear for the fishermen living right on the shore. 

We walked up through the mountain pathway to the square then up by the Cathédrale back to the house.
I typed Sr. Myrlande’s report and started on doing the outline for the project.  Went to the room at 8:30 pm and called Pierre before going to sleep.  Put the alarm for 10 pm.  At 10:15 pm got out of bed to get dress and cross over to church at 10:45 pm.  The young people of the parish presented a spiritual concert.  The mass started at 11:30 pm.  Christmas celebration here was very solemn and there were quite a few people in attendance. 
At 1 am, I was in my room but I was not feeling sleepy.  I decided to begin my morning prayers.

Friday, December 25, 2020
The sun shining through the window looked like a giant flood light entering the room.   At first, I had not realized that it was the sun.  I thought some activities where being done outside.  Then there was a quick light rain shower.  Some people here had told me we don’t get rain in December.  I stayed in bed until 7 am thinking and wondering about my life.   

I straightened my room and got dressed to go to the main house.  Got the envelopes for the personnel and wished each one of them a Merry Christmas before I had breakfast.  Kerline was learning to do some new dishes and she tried a Jamaican like patty with codfish.  The dough was a little hard and the fish was very salty.  The hot chocolate was thick and cold.  We had grapes and they were big and juicy.  I was thankful I had something to eat.  I helped Sr. Charitable alphabetize some of the test taken by the students before the break.  I did not want to enter the grades on the “palmares’’ as they had to be evaluated by the principal if the teachers had graded fairly according to criterion.

After we had lunch, I worked with Sr. Myrlande in writing a few sentences and choosing the pictures for the Facebook page she would like to publish.  I had difficulty finding how to post that is when I really miss Natalie, she would have helped me or instructed on what to do.

Dorme, the boy who wants to build a remote car, came to the house.  He did an interview and showed me how his car was made from a plastic bottle and caps for wheels.  He made it run on a telephone battery.  He wants to control it remotely.  I had him talk to Leon who asked him a few questions.  He never played with a video game apparently.  He has never seen a drone.  He just wants to create on the impulses he is experiencing.  He is 14 years old in 7th grade.  He says he has no idea about technology and computers yet he knows how to do research and is on Facebook chats on his phone.

The sisters and I had supper together before going to my room early as they had to organize themselves to travel very early tomorrow.
Sr. C. left a pile of tests packets for me to alphabetize and to copy all her files from the Lenovo laptop to an external drive.

Saturday, December 26, 2020
I woke up suddenly between 2:30-3 am and could not sleep.  I heard a man screaming.  Did he lose someone or was he being attacked? I wondered.  I was surprised of myself I did not pray for him.  Around 4:30 am I heard sister calling for the driver to let him know they would be ready to leave soon.  They had to go to Port-au-Prince for four days.

By 6 am, I got dressed and brought a few of the items I needed to sleep in the main house while the sisters are away.  I talked to the cook, Kerline, and asked her to keep things simple.  I did not need supper cooked.  Breakfast and lunch are sufficient for me.  She had already prepared coffee.  I called Marc Henri and told him that breakfast was ready.  Then I went to pray in the chapel and the readings for mass.  I also listened to Fr. Kiernan Harrington preach at the different mass from St. Joseph Cathedral in Brooklyn.    Then at 8:30 am, I was ready to assist mass live at Incarnation in Queens, NY online on my phone.

I talked to Pierre for a while.  He joked about the “bouyon tèt kabrit” our friend Nicole had brought him.  He enjoyed it even the bone that was included.  Mr. L. called to confirm that he had collected 35 boxes, storage containers, and laundry bags of items donated for the sisters which were being shipped on the container.  We also discussed that we should add some more tools to the “Bank Zouti” such as dollies to transport heavy items and compacters for road repair.  I walked on the gallery all around the u-shaped house as a form of exercise.  Afterward, I started to alphabetize the packet of tests for levels 2 and 3.  I had a lunch of ‘bouyon’ vegetable which I enjoyed very much. I called Babeth to remind her of her special spot where she used to tie her hammock last year.  I made a few more calls but no one answered.  It was very quiet and peaceful until Mario, Sr. Myrlande’s assistant, came for an interview.  Then I continued to alphabetize the tests until evening.

Sr. Charitable called when she arrived at the mother house to find out how I was managing.  There was such heavy traffic, they arrived at 3 pm after about ten hours of travel. 

After making my evening call after supper, I watched some TV in the personnel refectory.  It was a military drama with Tom Cruise, I believed Jack Reacher.  It ended at 9 pm.  So today I did not go to bed that early hoping I will be having a better night.  I closed the gate and all the doors when it started to rain very hard.  The plants will be happy and the roads less dusty.

Sunday, December 27, 2020
I could not sleep.  I prayed but I had no rest.  Between 4 and 5, I tossed.  At 5 am I went to the kitchen to get coffee to pray and do the readings of the day with Jesus.  Then I got dressed to go to Mass with Kerline.  Fr. Toto celebrated mass on time.  Mrs. Leblanc was there and I met Br. Albert of the Petits Frères de St. Therese (PFST) in Brossard.  After mass, Fr. Toto came to the chapel to give me confession as I had requested.  During our exchange, in order to give me some consolation, he mentioned the story of Job of which I am very familiar.  I told him that God allowed Satan to tempt Job by removing all that he had because he would remain faithful to Him.  At the end of the story after much struggle to understand his trials and recognizing the friendship of God, everything and more was returned to Job.  I said:  “My daughter will not come back to me.  I still believe in God, but He allowed the evil of sickness and death to have taken her at this early stage of life. I am like Job lamenting, confused, and suffering. ”  Fr. Toto understood that I was still grieving very hard.  He prayed with me and promised he will continue to do so.  After breakfast, I called home.  I felt a little lighter and ready to hear any challenge. 

I had to work on the invoices for the items sent on the container then went to lunch at 12:45 pm (legume, rice, and bean sauce) my favorite food.  What I noticed about meat or fish here, there isn’t a lot but we have a trace in tasty sauce.  I continued with the alphabetization of the test. I wanted to be done with them.  I became so tired I lied down while doing the Divine Mercy chaplet at 3 pm.  I had a severe left foot cramp, I had to walk around and stretch to loosen the muscle. 

The church next door needed to borrow the sisters’ speaker.  I had to go to the office to get it for them.  It seems that they had about 6 weddings to perform and do a community reception afterward.  I worked on more alphabetization until 7 pm.  Did not find much on TV today, I felt so sleepy I decided to retire early.  At 7:30 pm, I was in my room and I knew I was in for a long night.

Monday, December 28, 2020
I woke up so many times and tried to force myself to go back to sleep without looking at the time.  All kinds of thoughts and pain ran through my head while in the darkness.  I tried to pray but felt I was not 100% in it.  Finally, as daylight shone through the window, I got up it was almost six am.  Did the usual routine to shower and get dress then went for coffee.  I planned what I wanted to do for the day.  I carried water pail to my room outside.  The cook had prepared a ‘soup joumou’ without meat for breakfast.  It was deliciously tasty. 

Prayed and did the readings of the day, and listened to Fr. Harrington’s homily of yesterday.  I wrote thank you letters for CORA and prepared reports for the Centre Juvenile by field of study.  Also continued with the alphabetization of the test packets.  Talked to my son, Philip, to show him where I was so that he would not worry for me.  Tried to reach Kanna, a friend and supporter, she called back in the afternoon.  I am so glad she is partnering with us to accomplish the work here.  We had such great conversation on how to handle the needs here.  I promised to keep her updated on how things are being developed and progress accomplished. 

I did more alphabetization while watching a show.  At 7:30 pm, I could not find anything interesting thus I went to my room and listened to the news on my phone for a while.  This router has worked well for me. Then I went to sleep.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Another night waking up after dreams of school, old principal, teachers.  Tried to pray but could not concentrate.  All types of ideas going through my head hour after hour.  I felt it was going to be a rough day.  I could not stop crying.  I felt like a heavy compressor was squeezing my chest and I could not breathe.  After getting dress around 6 am.  I did my prayers and readings.  I was called for breakfast but I went to the chapel and sat down quietly unable to pray.  The Word Among Us had this sentence “…awaiting the consolation of Israel”.  The message was to trust like Simeon that God is at work whether he answers our prayer or not.   The prayer of the day was apropos:  “Holy Spirit, help me to persist in prayer and learn to hear your voice.”

I went for breakfast otherwise I may become sick later.  I felt the weight of loss today.  A friend who had lost a child had shared a YouTube video with me by Chris Averi “With the son of God: the Sweetest Gift.”  I had to call Pierre to comfort me.  I talked to Leon who had sent me an article about Sr. Theresa’s doubts and he too had recently lost a child. 

Although I know I am not the only one in this situation of loss, it still is so difficult to accept asking oneself, did I do everything to alleviate her pain or show her that I loved her, how was her last moments before I found her lifeless body. 

I remember one night after massaging her swollen ankles, stomach, and her back, while I was praying in my room I practically saw myself in the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus sweating blood before his upcoming passion, as a human not seeing the greater purpose of His life, I screamed “Bulls—t”.  It must have been a real agonizing time for him as a man: upcoming physical pain, anxiety, isolation, abandonment, rejection – all the human feelings and emotions.  It is all summed up in the cry: “God, God, why have you forsaken me?

That is when I fully understood Jesus complete and unconditional love, becoming man and dying for me although I was not worth it.  I had talked about this love at a conference “from the crib to the cross” but now I was called to respond in an authentic way and challenged to make it manifest in my actions.  My prayer was to just say: “Thank you Jesus.  Show me how to surrender and accept your powerful faithful love in this moment of crisis”.

Abcinad, the medical student sponsored by friends of CORA, came to visit with me for a few minutes to give an update of her studies as I monitor this project.  Mrs. Leblanc had gone to Miragoane and she brought the house a “kòk peyi” as a gift for the holidays.  I walked around the yard and I discovered the back gate by the school was left open, I reported that to Marc Henri.  I gave him the gifts I had promised him for his four kids.  I stayed until 8 pm watching TV in the personnel room before turning in.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020
The night seemed very long.  I must have gotten out of bed 7 or 8 times for stretch of time.  Finally at 5:45 am got out of bed.  Cleaned the room I was in of all my stuff and went to my room outside.  I feel so independent there although the dogs make a raucous that may be scary at times. 

I planned to type today and do some of the proposed budget for the Centre Juvenile for Sr. M.’s review.  The container has arrived in Haiti today.  I hoped the people in charge of custom would get them for us before I leave. 

I made sure water buckets were filled for my bathroom.  I am awaiting the return of the sisters today.  The water truck came in with David Casamajor as a distributor.  His father the veterinarian also came to give the last dose of shots to the sick dog. 

Vincent, a student of the Centre Juvenile, wanted to make a request to find investors for the projects they would like to develop for the town. Mr. Cerisier also came to visit and invite me to a Haiti’s CORA group meeting.  I told him I was in quarantine and not able to socialize with anyone although I wanted to see the committee and learn of their ideas for this year 2021.

The sisters arrived at 7:30 pm.  When Sr. C. called from Petit Goave it was 5:23 pm.  We helped them get their bags from the car to their rooms and at the table I recounted the event of the day and what happened during their absence.  I am glad they are back to return to a structured schedule day.

Thursday, December 31, 2020
Woke up during the night but did not feel any stress as I am back in my little room (cell) in the yard.  The room was not as dark as the full moon was shining through.  I was able to go into prayer while awake.  I got out of bed around 5:45 am.  By 6:15 am I crossed to the main house to have coffee before Morning Prayer.  I felt comfortable to join in prayer from outside the chapel.  Sr. C. had placed Don Bosco’s picture (founder of the Salesians) at the foot of the altar with a bouquet. 

After breakfast, Mrs. Leblanc called me to go to Brossard to see the progress of the construction of St. Claire chapel.  Then we visited the PFST’s guildive and food transformation center (peanut, cocoa, manyòk, sugar cane).  Frère Albert made a short appeal about the needs of the brother’s to help the people of the region.  A NY H.S. had contributed to the peanut grinder in 2018.  It is in need of repair but saved the peasants production for the end of year.  They were able to process the peanuts and cacao.  However, they still need a new grinder.  The ‘manyòk’ grinders are working but because of lack of water no ‘manyok’ was produced so they cannot have ‘kasava’.  The mil for sugar cane is broken.  They ordered a new one which has not yet arrived.  The ‘kleren’ is processed in big barrels:  sugar and sugar cane water which has to be distilled.  The peasants require the help of Ti Frères for this process as it is the only way to have some income from the sale of the Kleren to other surrounding towns.  It is a based from many products such as Kremas…  The agriculture is on halt as the leased land they had been cultivating was repossessed by the owner with all their production on it.  Water in the area is scarce making agricultural development very difficult. 

After the visit, Mrs. Leblanc dropped us at the sisters where we discussed the unpacking of St. Joseph’s statue shipped on the last container.  We helped clean the living room area.  We had lunch (white rice, bean sauce and legume). 
I called Martial, my younger brother, to let him know I was okay and give him a virtual tour of where I was enjoying nature and introduced him to the sisters.

I tried typing than felt tired.  I went to rest but the neighborhood music prevented me to do so.  Sr. Myrlande made the TV work in the communal room.  I watched until supper.  Then we participated in a beautiful end of year prayer service prepared by Sr. C.  I had intended to go to mass at 10 pm.  When I went to my room to refresh, read messages, I was nodding.  I decided not to go.  I woke up at 11:10 pm hearing the sisters calling for someone to come open the gate for them.  I tried to wake up the driver next door.  He ignored the call to action until Sr. Myrlande sent a rock on top of the little house and I really commanded him to help the sisters.  I was afraid to go myself because the dogs has already been released for the night in my section of the yard.

Friday, January 1, 2021
Prayed during the different times I woke up until 5:50 am when I got out of bed.  I washed my hair using the cold water but it felt good.  When I crossed over, it was time for Morning Prayer.  We had breakfast of a delicious ‘soup joumou’.  At 9 am I walked to the Cathédrale for mass.  The presider was the Bishop of Nippes, Msgr. Dumas, with two other priests.  He preached about Mary mother of God, Independence Day, day of peace and the ushering of the year 2021, a Jubilee for the 300th year anniversary of the town.  After communion two speakers were invited to say a few words.  The first was the head of the 300th anniversary committee, Mr. Yves Casamajor; followed by the newly elected mayor of Anse-a-Veau, Mr. Marc Michel.

They both talked about history and they reiterated the major problems the people of Anse-a-Veau are confronting such as lack of water, no electricity, and impracticable road from Petite Rivière to the town.  We Haitians love to talk to hear ourselves speak, I think.  As head of the anniversary committee, Mr. C. did not lay a plan of activity except asking for everyone to come together to make a difference at the end of a long diatribe.  He is the one who personally told me that he was disappointed that the bench CORA had sent were not what he had expected for a 300 year anniversary.  I still don’t understand what he meant. 

The mayor gave a lesson of geography and political statements.  Again these talks would have been okay if not in the context of mass and in inviting people to rally for this momentous occasion.   I was really annoyed wondering why talk about all this on the first day of 2021 when the Bishop and his assistant Louis Merosné had told me in 2012 we should be preparing for this event.  I thought this would have been an ushering of festivities on important dates of the year, a call to do a konbit to motivate the people to clean the town and go into community action, a conscientization.  After three hours in church, I was exhausted by the hot air given by these people.  I wanted to scream:  What specific action is being taken?  What is the plan to make a difference?  All the places in town are in need of renovation, maintenance, what is the timeline being established to have things done?  Finally after mass, I asked the mayor if he would give me an interview as I had done with his predecessor, Jean Marie Fouché, who apparently did absolutely nothing for the town according to the constituents. 

After lunch, I worked with Sr. Myrlande in preparing the reports for each of the field of study offered by the Centre Juvenile.  Then Sr. Charitable and I walked to Francoville Villa to visit with Ervey (Tipouch).   He is really proud of his constructions and what he is trying to accomplish for the area.  I like what I see too — pushing ahead, getting things done, giving jobs to some young people.  He had his driver bring us back to the house with an electrician he is encouraging Sr. C. to use to install the freezer donated by Mr. Morel.  He recommended that the electrician, Mr. Francois, give us an estimate for restoring of the electrical system in the house.  As CORA had ordered six batteries for the house, he promised to come and do the installation but he needed the jumpers for the connection.  He had called a few people and there was none available in the area, he would have to go to Miragoane to purchase them the following day.  Unfortunately, we had not known to order these jumpers with the batteries.  No hardware store in the town to purchase what is needed. 
During prayer, I was feeling so sleepy I could hardly wait to go to my room.

Saturday, January 2, 2021
I woke up at 12:20 am and it seems that the Divine Mercy chaplet song was being played at the main house. I was surprised as I had promised Sr. Quetteline I would teach it to her in English.  I started to sing along until I felt back to sleep.

The sisters went to mass at 6 am.  I stayed in my room to start packing for tomorrow to go visit Sr. Flora in Jeremie.  I wanted to bring the least with me.  After breakfast, I went to my favorite spot on the gallery facing the inside garden to type and complete some of the reports with Sr. Myrlande for each field taught in the Centre Juvenile.  This task took most of the day.  Claudette, her husband, and the baby came to visit.  Unfortunately, because of COVID I would not hold the baby or sit close to them. 

Sr. Myrlande and I went to mass Saturday evening, as we would be travelling early the next day.  Fr. Louis was the celebrant for the Epiphany of the Lord.  I finally saw him one on one.  I told him I stayed clear of everyone in retreat at the sisters. I was staying clear of people, I do not feel like socializing with anyone unless absolutely necessary. 

We had supper then I went to my room to finish packing, address and fill the envelopes for the teachers New Year’s incentive bonus.  Tired I was in bed by 9:30 pm.

Sunday, January 3, 2021
I woke up around 12:20 am, the dogs were howling practically right by the door of my room for about 5 minutes.  I prayed.  In Haiti, the belief is when the dog ‘djoule’ in this fashion, is because they see a ghost (zonbi).  I did not feel any fear nor any anxiety.  I forced myself to go back to sleep and before I woke up again at 3 am, I dreamt my second son with a tear in his eye say: “Mom I need you.  I really need your help.”  I prayed a rosary for him as it is the only thing that was in my power to do at that time.  I finally got out of bed with the alarm at 3:50 am.  I got dressed then called the driver next door to me to remind him he needed to be ready.  Both sisters were ready.  I drank coffee and prepared some refreshment for the road.  Sr. Charitable came out to wish us safe travel.  We finally left at 4:45 am.  We filled both gas tank at Carrefour des Ruisseau then dropped Sr. Quetteline at the station in direction of Port-au-Prince to get transportation for Jacmel.  We were on our way to Les Cayes at 6 am. 

We were to pick-up sister Julienne on the road at the entrance of Cavaillon.  We passed by her, she was at Boileau.  We turned back to get her before proceeding to the Salesiennes at Les Cayes to pick an item for Sr. Flora.  I was glad for this stop before continuing for another two hours to Jeremie at 8:30 am.  We were on a stretch of rocky path from Les Cayes before getting on the new paved road to Jeremie.  I don’t understand the lack of maintenance after something has been built.  This course reminded me of the curvy and winding route to Jacmel.  We reached Gommiers at 9:50 am.  Sr. Flora and the others were at Mass.  I sat down on a bench waiting for their arrival.  I had the wi-fi box, I was able to communicate with Pierre to let him know I had travelled well and show him where I was.  When Sr. Flora arrived with the others, they sang the welcome song of bienvenue.  Sr. showed me the room assigned to me upstairs.  Of course, it was Sr. Julienne’s room.  She had to temporarily stay with another sister while I was here tonight.  I asked for some coffee while I sat in their community screened room upstairs.  This house has exactly what I always dreamed of having in a house.  The gallery runs around the upstairs rooms.  I enjoyed walking from one side of the house facing the ocean view to the other side overseeing neighborhood houses.  Each sister came to introduced themselves and tell me a little about themselves:  love of  poetry/ literature, sewing, teaching.  Except for Sr. Flora, a mature woman, they are all very young ladies.  We had a sumptuous lunch (frites, white rice, chicken, bean, and vegetables) accompanied by a bourbon rosée of which I had a drop to make a toast. 

I visited the chapel for a few minutes then Sr. Flora, her driver, and Thermino we travelled to visit TiColibri.  I had seen the YouTube video and sent it to Sr. F. so that she would know, not too far from her, who might give a hand in her new mission.  The driver although he is from this area did not know of this place, Bèl Peyi, in Chateau.  No one was there, we left Sr. Flora’s number so that they may communicate with her when available.  We went to buy some ‘konparèt’, a product of this area.  At supper, we talked about the profession of an educator.  Then we went for prayer.  Afterward, I shared my life with them and asked them how they became involved with the church and their congregation.  One, the parents were protestant but she became Catholic and a sister over their objection.  Another one, no one objected to her decision, she felt it was the right thing t do.  The other one the parents were very involved in the church and were very happy of her decision.  After the sharing moment, we sang before turning in to our rooms.  This house does not belong to them, the Salesiennes are temporarily using it until their own place is built.

Monday, January 4, 2021
I woke up only twice during the night.  The only bathroom is at the end of the hallway and the doors creak.  I waited until 5 am to move around so not to disturb anyone in their activities until they went to the chapel.  I did not join them there, I stayed outside my room and prayed silently along with them.  We had breakfast at 6:15 am then at 7 am we drove to the embryonic school set up by the sisters.  There is a nice piece of land.  The office is set up under a tree in the yard.  They have to carry daily all their school material from the house where they are living to this unfinished structure.  There are four rooms built for classes and a few walls for the upstairs.  There is not enough natural lighting for these rooms.  There is no place to store anything.  Either they would have finished the classrooms or at least one, then do the upstairs for the sisters accommodation.  Who is planning these things?  I think they just don’t want the students to stay home and want to start their education with the Salesians.  Today, one classroom had an English class for older students.  The three other rooms were for the little ones.  After twenty years in education, I would want to do certain things differently.  The teacher wrote a text on the board then asked the students to read it along with him, then answer questions.  He tried to have them address him whenever they entered the room.  He was showing them how not to confuse the pronunciation of “hello” and “allow”.  I purposefully asked him to “/əˈlou/” me to say good morning. 

In one class the children were waiting for the teacher to arrive.  One sister asked them to take their reading books and to read individually.  After a while, I asked if they had stories for the children.  I recommended they read aloud daily for the students.  There was one French book around with quite difficult vocabulary words for rural children.  I wished I had some of my big books to read for the children and do it in Kreyòl.  For another class, I taught them the “head and shoulder” song in French although I would rather have done it in Kreyòl. It pains me that they are doing all this in French rather than in Kreyòl as science indicates that it would be best for children to learn to read in the language they have familiarity with (their mother tongue). 

At 8:30, the driver and I started back to go to Les Cayes.  We stopped on the road to buy some charcoal (750 gdes) the bag.  We arrived at Sr. Myrlande’s house at 10:45 am.  We dropped something at the Salesiennes House for Sr. Flora and continued on leaving Les Cayes at 11 am to return to Anse-a-Veau.  We stopped to buy sodas and water for the center in Miragone and left there by 1:10 pm.  We arrived in Anse-a-Veau at 1:45 pm just in time for lunch.  

It was nice to see the freezer was installed but they used all six batteries instead of the four mentioned.  Now we will have to order 12 for the house. The electrician bought the jumpers for us and he was reimbursed. 

During lunch, we spent some time narrating part of our trip experience.  While I was typing on the gallery, the mayors, Mr. Michel and Ms. Saintil, came to visit with Sr. Charitable and I asked for an interview. I felt it would be a good opportunity for them to share their plans for the town. 
We had supper, then after prayer I went to start putting things in order before my upcoming departure.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Woke up several times during the night sometimes I prayed at others I forced myself to blank out.  The trip is winding down.  I got up at 5 am with the voice of the groundskeeper telling sister about the dogs.  I assumed the one who had received the shots from the veterinarian had died.  Its stomach had been distended and it seem that he had eaten many plastic bags that were found in his stool.  Sr. Charitable is making arrangements to have it buried right away either in the cemetery or her open field.  I prayed with the sisters and then went to get coffee while they were saying the rosary.  After breakfast, I started to make arrangements for the electrician to come and re-haul the whole solar panel/converter system of the house.  There are a few rooms without lights and some circuits need to be installed.  I typed and finalize some reports and the estimate for the electrician.  After lunch, I felt very sleepy by 3 pm.  I asked Sr. Quetteline to give me a few minutes to teach her the Divine Mercy chaplet in English.  Sr. Charitable called me to go meet the second mayor, Mrs. Sherley Saintil by the generator behind the rectory.  She was going to show what she does with the children to keep the town clean.  She had a group of about 30 children from 2 years olds to 10 with a few teenagers and adults all wearing masks.  These children were carrying a few large plastic bags.  I made pictures for her and the kids.  I thought she was going to handle a small area around the church.  She told me they were going to Francoville Villa.  I thought it was a long way for small children like these.  They collected plastic water bags and bottles and the large plastic bags filled quickly.  She had to yell for them to stay together and look out for motor cycles.  Before we reached the first street (Rue Cimetière), the bags were filled.  She had a few children and an adult dump the trash on Sister’s property behind the school.  Then we continued on the road toward the Salle Paroisialle across from the Lycée.  They picked up more trash.  I mentioned to her that the children were two small to do this long route.  At that point, they gave the children water and cookies.  Unfortunately, I did not notice any handwashing or sanitizing.  I surprised myself for not saying anything. The children were too happy to get their share. 

We continued on toward the Calvaire at the end of the road.  I stopped there because I noticed no maintenance from the last time we painted in 2018.  I also saw that the corpus on the cross was again mutilated.  This time the right arm was broken instead of the two feet.  The environment again showed the sign of burnt candles and other worshipping activities. I felt really disappointed that no one continued in upkeep this place.  I know this property belongs to the Catholic Church.  Whoever worship there, this place should reflect a modicum of respect to God or deities. This calvaire and the Salle Paroisiale could be a youth project service.  One good method of evangelization is to have people come together to take care of their environment while learning to be in harmony with one another. True followers of Christ strive to act in response to His love by serving one another.

When the ‘mayores’ came back from whatever she was handling we began going down the rocky road of Tibarcadère in order to go to Francoville.  When we reached the halfway mark to that place, the adults were shoving, pushing, and cajoling the children to form two lines before we entered the facility.  My teaching and organizing personality took over.  I said in a loud voice: “Children listen to me. Can you say 1, 2. ”   They repeated 1, 2.  I said: “Can you stomp your right foot than your left foot.  Let’s go.”  I marched next to them saying: “1, 2, an nou mache.”  They took to the chant and started walking two by two in order.  I could not film it as I was leading the march until we got inside.  Mr. Ervey (Tipouch) and the personnel at Francoville were there and amazed at the sound and discipline they showed.  We chanted good afternoon Mr. Tipouch – onè, respè. Then clapped.  He welcomed them and they walked very quietly until they reach the room where they could take in the view of the ocean.  Mr. Tipouch told them that they were the future of the country.  Then I sang the national anthem in Kreyòl.  Thank goodness they knew it.  We found a line to proceed out of his place.  I left them as soon as I reached the main street.  I walked to the church where the priest had finished mass but was doing evening prayers.  Sr. Charitable called me to find out if I were ok.  I hurried back to the house where we had supper.  I watched a news brief than went to my room where I talked to my husband before going to bed.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021
I woke only 3 times during the night.  At 4:50 am the sisters started playing music in the house.  At first, I thought it was outside until I heard the type of music it was.  It is Sr. Charitable’s birthday today.  I swept the room, washed some items that would dry during the day.  Then got dressed.  We had prayer in celebration of Sr. C.  At breakfast we sang happy birthday to her and then she received some house gifts.  Sr. Myrlande wanted to give me some of the deserts and kremas she got from home. We went to my room to make sure I would not go over the 50 pounds limit.  I completed a report with Sr. Myrlande.  Talked to Mr. L who was placing the order of materials for the electrical job.  I talked about half an hour with Florence for our Reimagine Haiti committee.  We had a celebratory lunch for Sister C.  The school students and teachers also sang happy birthday for her in the yard as well.

I wanted to have just a last lazy day here.  The library was not open so I could not visit it.  Ms. Olene, the librarian, told me that she was unable to have access because it needed the town’s sanitation crew to do some clean-up outside.  I finished to the best of my abilities the account and put aside what I needed to give to the personnel.  I took some time to evaluate the programs we sponsor and ensure that every amount were recorded.
Evaluated what was completed in our projects, the progress of some others, and what future ones would be tackled.  Relaxed on the gallery while listening to the Divine Mercy song then the mass from Brooklyn’s St. Joseph celebrated by Fr. Harrington.
Mass here in Anse-a-Veau was at 5 pm.  I walked over from the house to the church and looked at the square below before returning.  I love being in the town were mountain meets ocean.  A sense of grandeur in a limited point—a feeling I can’t described in words. 
The sisters came for prayer then we discussed last minute things ordered for the house, bills paid what remains to be done.  Gave the gift for the Centre Juvenile. 
In my room, I completed the packing and charged all the phones.

Thursday, January 7, 2021
Several times I woke up from disturbing dreams I could not recall exactly.   The alarm rang a 3 am.  I got out of bed.  Went to the shower hoping the driver would hear my movements and know it was time to wake up.  At 3:30 I called out his name and said good morning.  At 3:45 am I went to the main house. Sr. Myrlande had prepared coffee and small package of goodies for the road.  Kerline was also ready to leave as she would be dropped at the station to go spend a few days home.  At 4 am Thermino was ready and at the car where we placed my suitcase and Sr. C.’s bags too.  She finally came out at 4:20 am. 

When we left Anse-a-Veau, on the road to Port-au-Prince, I saw the piles of small rocks and sand placed by some community activists to help fixed the road in the same place where I had noticed them at my arrival on the 15th of December.  Where is the will of the people to do the job of repairing the road?  Shouldn’t they too organize a band of workers to do the spreading of the gravel and compacting it for the sake of their vehicle and the ride? 

We stopped at the Miragoane gas station and I was glad to use the facilities there.  Got some traffic in front of a school for 10 minutes at 6:30 am, I was getting anxious.   Sr. C. a cousin on the road, and she offered her a ride.  We found some traffic in Carrefour because the street going on our side was flooded with garbage and mud as well as people trying to clean it.  We had to go on a lane against traffic to bypass that area.

We got to the airport by 8:30 am.  I was so relieved and thankful that I had made it that early.  The suitcase weighted 50.9 but they let it be.  I passed security and immigration with no difficulty.  I found out the food and Barbancour stands were on the first floor.  Mrs. Renaud was glad to see me and asked me to say hello to Pierre.  I got a chicken sandwich and a water for breakfast.  I sent a message to Sr. Charitable to let her know everything was fine.  Boarding was done smoothly from the back to the front.  Most of the seats were taken.  I definitely regretted paying extra.  I did not feel there was more space. 

We had a smooth flight.  After landing, we were not allowed to use the first bathroom after disembarking at the airport.  I needed to wear layers because I had no coat.  We had to walk all the way by the carousel.  While waiting I called home to say that I had landed.  The carousel took a while and suddenly it stopped.  There was a suitcase in the second shoot slider and mine was on the first landing.  An attendant came by slid the first suitcase and took mine and threw it to land on the bottom of the carousel but it hit the side.  When I got there my suit case top side was broken.  I had to report the incident because of the callousness with which the person acted.  Maybe he is overworked or tired of these situations, nonetheless he acted unprofessionally.  I hoped that the gift for my husband of a kremas bottle was not broken.

I had a hard time to reach the yellow taxi stand, only Uber was available by the Jetblue exit.  I had to take an elevator and walk about 10 minutes and get another one to the taxi stands.  The cab driver was an older man.  I gave him the address and told him the direct route but he followed the GPS that sends him around on the highway to Belmont area and there was heavy traffic on the Belt.  I endured this unwanted detour. 
When I got home, I thank the Lord for a safe travel even with these minor inconveniences. 

What did I accomplish on this trip?  I needed a retreat in an environment of structured prayer time with people of same belief system.  We Catholic believe we live on with Christ after death.  I have been saying this prayer for All Souls by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur for many years but now it takes on new meaning:
            “God our Father, Your power brings us to birth, Your providence guides our lives, and by Your command we return to dust. 
            Lord, those who die, still live in Your presence, their lives change but do not end.  I pray in hope for my family, relatives and friends.  … 
            In company with Christ, Who died and now lives, may they rejoice in your Kingdom, where all tears are wiped away.”

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